As the body count grows, the prime suspect behind the Craigslist killings is professing his innocence and his dismay at the apparent cooperation of his alleged teen accomplice.
On Saturday, Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler ruled that the latest victim, Timothy Kern, 47, died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head.
Richard Beasley, 52, is being held in the Summit County Jail under a $1 million bond. He has not been charged in the killings, but is considered the source of the help-wanted ad and the primary suspect.
His attorney, Rhonda Kotnik, said Saturday that she met with Beasley last week. During their meeting at the jail, the Akron man denied any involvement in the killings.
“He said it’s not him. That’s it. He’s innocent,” she said Saturday.
Kotnik said it appears Rafferty is speaking with investigators and placing blame on Beasley as detectives build their case. It is unclear what information led authorities to the bodies that were recovered Friday.
Beasley has known Rafferty for years, taking him to church regularly while serving as a mentor.
“He’s just disappointed that the kid is saying things about him,” she said.
After spending 15 years in prison over three different stints in the 1980s and 1990s, Beasley said he became a Christian and a minister of sorts.
Since about 2003, when he returned to Akron, he mentored a number of wayward people, mostly drug offenders.
Over time, he became known by some as “Chaplain Rich.”
He ran a halfway house in Akron, helped deliver food to the poor and regularly appeared before judges, speaking on behalf of defendants and vouching for their change in life.
Police say the halfway house was a front for prostitution.
He was jailed in Summit County from January through July on the prostitution and drug charges until Judge Tammy O’Brien lowered his $2,500 bond to $1,000. A potential parole violation stemming from a Texas conviction in the 1980s for burglary was also dropped, easing his release while he awaited trial.
But Beasley never appeared for subsequent hearings and was on the run, authorities said.
In early October, the Craigslist ad appeared for the first time. An untold number of people responded. Some interviews were conducted at Chapel Hill Mall.
Police believe Beasley was sizing up targets during the interviews.
Family members say Beasley frequently visited Noble County, where a longtime friend owns property in Caldwell.
“That just doesn’t sound like Richard,” his mother, Carol Beasley, 70, said after his arrest. “Honestly, I don’t know how he got into all of this.”
A gag order was issued two weeks ago by a Noble County judge, and the county sheriff has interpreted the ruling as a ban on releasing details of the investigation.
Rafferty’s parents, however, have said their son has talked to detectives. The teen also told his family that he did not directly witness any shooting. However, after one event — the Davis shooting — Beasley allegedly returned out of breath and “distraught” after meeting with the man.
The divorced parents, Yvette and Michael Rafferty, said in previous interviews that they believe their son was threatened by Beasley, who mentored the teen for nearly 10 years through their church, The Chapel in Akron.